When a new store opens, the politicians show up for a photo-op, ribbon-cutting and credit-grabbing.
When a retail store closes ... nothing. They leave behind a dark storefront.
Traditional retailers don't have the funds to advertise their goodbyes. Politicians don't help them grab headlines. They just close.
HAVE YOU noticed a dark storefront on your Main Street lately? Perhaps it’s more like a half dozen. Or that, if replacements come, they tend to be second-hand stores, nail salons, and service providers instead of traditional retailers?
There are many reasons for all that. But mostly: it's because costs are rising far faster than sales. Payroll, health insurance, and rent are all going up faster than inflation.
Competition is more intense than ever against online sellers. Mobile commerce has accelerated far faster than anyone ever imagined. Mobile commerce is the shopping preference for cost-conscious millennials. Too many of those online sellers don’t collect the state sales tax, giving them a 6.25 percent price advantage over Main Street. Online giants aren't dominated by huge payrolls in the same way as brick-and-mortar shops. For online sellers, payrolls are slim, because they often operate out of warehouses manned by robots.
Too often, online sellers reap a competitive advantage under antiquated and unevenly applied laws that hurt the local store vis-a-vis the online companies.
This year, Beacon Hill had the opportunity to even the playing field on these issues, and to give local stores a fighting chance, but they walked away from the necessary reforms. And for some retailers and independent shop owners in Massachusetts, it's now too late.
So here we are in 2017. It seems like each day we hear about a great Main Street retailer forced to close. Since government doesn't seem to understand the need to even the playing field for Main Street, we're providing this visual reminder of the cost of their continued inaction.